Research shows that about 43% of patients over the age of 60 may be missing fundamental health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so critical, patients could be missing major details related to their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small issue. Debilitating hearing loss is a problem globally for about a third of individuals over 65.
But astoundingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. When it comes to medical care, this is bad news.
With Health Care – Communication is Crucial
Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. Up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have occurred if communication had been better. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
Statistics can seem a bit abstract and intangible so let’s consider some important information you could miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding particular health objectives. They might talk about what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They may tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can do you harm. You could be missing important pieces of advice that would help you handle your condition.
These medical professionals might explain danger zones that indicate that you require medical care. If you don’t comprehend completely what the physician is communicating, you might miss essential warning signs and put off on getting assistance.
Your pharmacist could try to give you a warning about dangerous side effects or drug interactions. You could wind up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building regimen but warns you against a particular activity. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.
It’s Especially Challenging to Communicate Medical Information
Taking medical information in the correct context is particularly difficult. When you miss some piece of information due to your hearing loss, you use context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact really good at compensating for hearing loss. So good, in fact, that it may even make you believe that you heard something you didn’t really hear.
The meaning of a sentence can be totally altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could totally change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the slightest details make a big difference. When those small details are missed, it can lead to serious medical problems.
Getting Help For Hearing Loss
You could be missing essential medical advice if you suffer from hearing loss. Now is the time to take the proper steps to conserve your hearing.